Shepherd District in Oklahoma City

Shepherd District in Oklahoma City
Shepherd District in Oklahoma City

In Oklahoma City, homebuyers looking for the charm of a historical home without the high price tag are drawn to the Historic Preservation District, Shepherd. Shepherd District in Oklahoma City is the neighborhood just west of Pennsylvania by Shepherd Mall. More specifically, it extends from Penn to Villa and from NW 23rd to Cashion Place as you can see on the handy map.

Like many of Oklahoma City’s historical neighborhoods, Shepherd began with an interesting story. Long before it became a platted residential neighborhood in 1931, it was a 160 acre family farm and lake. The Shepherd family made it their home in 1890. The first home built on the farm was a 13 X 25 foot two-story home (18 feet tall). It’s significant because it is believed to be the first two-story home to be built in Oklahoma. Despite future development, that small farm-house remained on its original site until Mr. Shepherd’s daughter, Lottie, passed away in 1970. It was then relocated to the zoo and then again to the Harn Homestead and 1889er Museum where you can still see it today.

Art Deco in OKC's Shepherd District
Art Deco in OKC’s Shepherd District

In 1931 the land was platted as a neighborhood with fairly strict building requirements. All homes were to be built with brick, stone or stucco. The typical architectural style is Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival although one art deco property managed to sneak in on the corner of 26th and Youngs. Interestingly, the area still was not within Oklahoma City limits (that didn’t happen until sometime after WWII). About 95% of the homes built in the Shepherd District were constructed between 1931 and 1941.

Oklahoma City's Historic Preservation District, Shepherd
Oklahoma City’s Historic Preservation District, Shepherd

Remember the lake I mentioned earlier? Well, where Shepherd Mall sits today was once Shepherd Lake and boathouse. That just boggles my mind. It was just west of the neighborhood and a popular destination for swimming and pony rides! My mother in law’s childhood home was on the opposite side of 23rd (in the city). She told the story of sneaking off to the lake with her best friend, Norma, to go swimming. Apparently her mother caught them both and she was grounded for some time. Like all great family stories, the punishment seemed to worsen as it was retold over the years! I didn’t grow up in Oklahoma City but have been told that as the mall and nearby apartments were developed, the lake shrank to a pond before disappearing entirely. I can’t help but imagine how lovely it would be if today there was a lake for kids to sneak off to for an afternoon swim instead of the ugly Shepherd Mall.

Shepherd 3

Today a typical home in the Shepherd District in Oklahoma City is around 1600 square feet and has three bedrooms and one full and one half bathroom. One car attached garages are common. Properties are currently selling for between $103-130/square foot. Because this is an Oklahoma City Historic Preservation (HP) District, special guidelines must be followed for any alteration to the exterior of the property. PRO TIP: When searching for a home in the Shepherd District entering “Shepherd” as search criteria for neighborhood will yield minimal results. Instead, try “Cashion Place.” Our MLS populates listing data from tax records and that is the subdivision name in the property description of record.

I LOVE learning about the history of old neighborhoods in Oklahoma City! Is there one you’d like to know more about? Let me know in the comments below.

Sources for this post:

ShepherdHistoric.com, Living Spaces, OKCMAR MLS, Daily Oklahoman

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